Author: Paul John M. Peña

Research Article

Year: 2021, Volume 21 Number 3

Pages: 137 – 148


I present an alternative to methodological individualism and the assumption of instrumentally rational individuals that dominates much of mainstream economic theorizing. Following mainly Davis’ corpus of work on the socially embedded individual, I argue that methodological individualism no longer works, especially when the alternative view of socially embedded individuals holds even stronger explanatory and prescriptive power. The current Coronavirus pandemic experience is used both as a backdrop to this proposed change and as a live case through which collective intentionality is appreciated to be more superior than instrumental rationality. I discuss collective intentionality as a mediating feature of the socially embedded individual to participate in collective action and provide necessary and sufficient conditions, developing a synthesis of magisterial contributions to the literature of collective intentionality in terms of its structure, content, and mode. I also provide a recommendation on how its normative feature can be used in dispensing the art and craft of economics that is in tune with the demands of changing economic realities triggered by the pandemic. 

Keywords: Collective intention, rationality, methodological individualism, economic methodology, philosophy of economics